When did genetic modification start?

Everyone has already heard about genetically modified foods. It is not so bad as it might seem to some observers, is it? Do you know when genetic modification itself started? Continue reading to get the right answer.

Genetically modified foods

In 1994, profit-making sale of genetically modified foods started. At that time Calgene primary marketed its unproductive Flavr Savr delayed-ripening tomato.

Flavr Savr delayed-ripening tomato

Most food modifications works were first and foremost concentrated on cash crops such as corn, soybean, cotton, and canola. Genetically modified crops were engineered for confrontation to herbicides and pathogens.

herbicides and pathogens

Origin of genetic modification

Since XII century BC genetic modification based by human activity has been continuing. At that time people initially started to house-train organisms.

In 1973, Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer completed their unique investigation. As a result, they found out that genetic engineering is the direct transfer of DNA from one organism to another.

Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer

In 1973, Rudolf Jaenisch created the first hereditarily modified animal. It was a mouse.

Rudolf Jaenisch mouse

In 1983, an antibiotic resistant gene was inserted into tobacco. Therefore, it became the first genetically created plant. It immediately allowed scientists manipulating and adding genes to plenty of various organisms. Consequently, a variety of diverse effects was induced.

GM tobacco

Starting from 1976, this technology has been made money-making, with the beginning of genetically modified microorganisms that produced somatostatin, went after by insulin in 1978. In 2010, 31 countries already planted commercialized GM crops.

When did genetic modifying of foods start?

Have you ever heard of teosinte? This grassy plant is the forerunner to maize or corn. Ten thousand years ago farmers in Mexico took the first steps to bring under control this plant by merely choosing the most pleasing kernels to plant. Centuries passed by. Now corn provides more than 23% of human food worldwide.

genetic modifying of foods start

Farmers have already deliberately modified the genetic makeup of all crops they grown. Every vegetable, fruit, and grain that is accessible for purchasing today has been changed by human hands, counting both heirloom and organic seeds.


People have always been interested in getting an answer to the question: “What is GMO?”. Here is the answer.

A GMO is a plant developed through a procedure in which a reproduction of a preferred gene or a section of genetic material from one plant or organism is put into another one. In many countries you may purchase only these crops:


  • Corn;
  • Papaya;
  • Cotton;
  • Soybeans;
  • Canola;
  • Sugar beets;
  • Alfalfa;
  • Summer squash;
  • Potato.

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Fran Castle, Global Senior Manager in BASF told about the history of genetic modification. In particular, she admitted the following:

“Nature is the master of genetic shuffling. It is continually cataloging and resorting DNA, causing both delicate and deep changes in all living things. People first began their own DNA management thousands of years ago, when they started to cross-breeding plants to create better fiber or foods. In 1953, scientists discovered the structure of DNA. In 1973, researchers created a technique for cutting and splicing DNA. It became known as recombinant DNA, since it enabled scientists to recombine segments of DNA. Since then, researchers have realized how to move genetic material in the form of DNA from one plant to another”.

Fran Castle GMO talks

Then Fran Castle continues her explanation about genetic modifications:

“Genetic modification is much more accurate than careful breeding. By transferring only certain genes from one plant or animal to another, researchers can introduce one precise trait without also transferring dozens of unnecessary traits, as frequently occurs in selective breeding. Therefore, genetic modification is the only accessible instrument for producing certain drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics. Genetic modification in plants has been continuing since the early 1980s. In 1986, EPA approved commercial growing of the first genetically engineered crop – tobacco plants resistant to a tobacco virus”. 


Opposition to the making use of of genetic engineering has started since this technology was first developed. After Arpad Pusztai published his study in 1998, the community resistance to genetically modified food became greater than before. Public disagreement continued following notorious and publicly debated papers published in 2000 and 2013. They immediately claimed unconstructive ecological and health impacts caused by genetically modified crops.

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